By Loreth Beswetherick
Intrawest has added the Swan-e-Set Bay Resort & County club in Pitt Meadows to its growing stable of golf resorts and courses.
The Swan-e-Set Bay acquisition was finalized Jan. 20 but negotiations with the Skylark Group of Japan for the property have been ongoing for about a year. Financial details of the purchase have not been disclosed. The deal includes two 18-hole golf courses, tennis courts and a 65,000-square-foot clubhouse.
Intrawest has also signed a letter of intent to buy a further 120 acres on the adjacent Flower Hill where Skylark was planning an expansion, including a 250-unit housing complex; up to a 150-room hotel; an equestrian centre and a day marina. The Flower Hill sale to Intrawest, however, is pending the outcome of an appeal by the Pitt Polder Preservation Society on a B.C. Supreme Court ruling to allow municipal rezoning of the rural land and the expansion of the golf resort.
Intrawest Golf Group senior vice president Jeff Stipec said the corporation is happy to let due process take its course and feels confident about the outcome of the Supreme Court appeal. The intent, said Stipec, is to put together a master plan for the resort and development likely will not take place for another 18 months yet.
He said the Swan-e-Set acquisition is a natural addition to the Intrawest fold and the corporation has a good handle on attracting the Lower Mainland market. Intrawest will draw on existing relationships in the resort industry to attract guests. Stipec said members will also gain privileges at Intrawest’s other golfing and skiing locations across North America.
The plan to develop the additional 120 acres and expand the golf resort doesn’t sit well on the shoulders of many Pitt Meadows residents. The development and rezoning application spurred a four-day public hearing — the longest in Pitt Meadows’ history. Council approved the plan but the Pitt Polder Preservation Society opted to challenge the decision in court. The society lost but has launched an appeal, currently set to be heard May 30.
Swan-e-Set is Intrawest’s first golf property in the Greater Vancouver area. It falls under Intrawest’s newly-formed Golf Group division. Stipec left his post as Intrawest vice president of food and beverage operations in July for the Golf Group offices in Phoenix, Arizona.
Intrawest already operates 19 courses throughout North America including nine at its mountain resorts, two Raven courses in Arizona and one in Colorado; four Sandestin courses in Florida; a course in Las Vegas and two new courses in California due to open in March and May this year.